A cello fingerboard with a precisely machined metal straightedge on top. 1.8 is close enough for my purposes. There are variables in the thickness of the string, the thickness of the frets, and the frequency of the strings. As you can see, our board has many holes that were made over time. I use a marking gauge set 5.5 mm for violin, 6 mm for viola, and 7.5 mm for cello. I want the final width to be 32 mm. Musings from the workbench of violin maker Andy Fein on makers, instruments, bows, musicians, and the joys of a life in the world of stringed instruments. On violins and violas, I will make the underside surface come to a point where the sides of the fingerboard meet end of the fingerboard. This way it is possible to tell exactly where material is being taken off. For example, in first position on the A string, D# and Eb have the same sound (and are enharmonic notes). I start out by drawing a pencil line where the end of the neck will be. This note could be fingered using either a high 3rd finger, or a low 4th finger. When I’m pulling the blade, my right finger applies more pressure. (6.5cm x 3= 19.5cm on most 4/4 violins) 4. The blade tensioned in the plane can change the sole, so it is good to keep the plane in the state that it will be used while shaping the sole. Most violin music for beginners uses 1st position. A violin bow in slow-motion, tuned down to exaggerate the motion. This pressure allows for a slight convexity. I start out by marking the height of the fingerboard sides. Owner Jerry Pasewicz is a member of the International Association of Violin and Bow Makers (EILA) and a current member and President Emeritus of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. When rounding the plane, it is a good idea to keep the blade in the plane and just back it out a little. (The tool is quite expensive, but is a good tool for a number of shop tasks. -Mineral Spirits To establish the angle of the fingerboard end, I use a sliding T-bevel. A closer look at how the bridge holds the strings at an angle that matches the fingerboard: Up until now, we've been writing about modern fingerboards. I usually do this with two gouges. Then I moved to finer grits of sandpaper on a flat slab. On a violin, I set the height of the G string at the end of the fingerboard at 4.5 mm and the E at 3 mm. -Fingerboard side planing jig This way I only have to lap the very last part of the blade near the edge. 1. Often the end of the fingerboard still looks a little chunky at this point. Saw slow and carefully, because you don’t want the ebony to splinter. Fingering for notes played in 3rd position are to the left of the fingerboard. To prepare my blade, I first sharpen the blade on my Tormek Grinder. With violin and viola it is highly unlikely, so I will stick with what looks good and bring it to a point. I then connect the outer channel to the established blank channel using the flatter gouge. It must be very sharp and slightly convex in order to leave the fingerboard surface concave. I then use my fingerboard template to mark both ends of the fingerboard. I put a thin ruler under the blade to raise it up slightly. In my experience the slightly concave surface produces a better glue joint. The block plane has been modified for fingerboard use only. One gouge with a tighter sweep around the edge of the hollow and a flatter one for the rest. Tuesday – Friday 9 to 5 Violin Setup - What we do and why it is so important. A little trial and error is the best way to find the right placement that works. I stick the fingerboard in a custom made holder and pare down the ends to the line I marked out with my template. It’s very simple and consists of a flat piece of plywood with a stop glued to the end. The pitch would be the same. I line the template up with the lines I marked on the fingerboard sides. After the work with the crossing file is done, I finish it off with the sandpaper through the grits as before and finish it off with fine steel wool. So I divide 1.8 mm by 2 and get 0.9 mm. The fingerboard (also known as a fretboard on fretted instruments) is an important component of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument. -Fingerboard blank Next I will put the fingerboard into a side planing jig. List Price: US$8.00. By Appointment Only Now, I simply plane away the middle of the fingerboard until the grapite-rubbed pared ends are planed away. Some may call this a shooting board. Once I have the angle established, I will use the quick change function on the sander to switch to a higher grit disc and clean up the end. Measure the distance from the end of the nut closest to the fingerboard to the edge of the violin top next to the neck. The sole of the plane has been slightly rounded. I put the jointer plane in a vise and pull the fingerboard (gluing surface down) across the planing surface. Setting up is the final adjustment of the violin. –Alberti Disc Sander Sometimes there is confusion on this point because some luthiers measure to the bottom of the string and some to the middle. I get what is called a hollow grind. This is especially true with the widths. -Large jointer plane After I have established the edge on the Tormek, I finish the edge of the blade on wet stones by hand. Violin Fingerboard Shim, Maple. On cellos, most fingerboards will have a "Romberg", a flat section under the C-string. This fingerboard has very deep grooves made by the A and D string, Viola da Gambas actually did have frets made from catgut, the same material as gut strings. © Copyright 2020 RK Deverich. I use a 41.5 mm radius for my fingerboard template. It affects the pegs, the nut, the fingerboard, the bridge, the soundpost, the tailpiece and tailgut and even the end button. I use a 41.5 mm radius for my fingerboard template. When I’m pushing the blade, my left finger applies more pressure. -Marking gauge I will measure what the current width is and mark out where it needs to be. I start out by marking the height of the fingerboard sides. There would be a good reason to finish the bridge end first if the width of the blank at that end was already close to the finished dimensions. Planes Block plane A flat sole block plane is used for finer work, ie. After scraping, I sand it. 1. 2. Violin Fingering for notes played in the 1st position are to the right of the fingerboard. I will use a block plane turned on it’s side and shooting along the fingerboard. -Wet or dry sandpaper: 220 grit, 320 grit, 600 grit I make a series of straight channels rather than just chipping away randomly. Since the fingerboard is at an angle, the strings have to be held at the correct height by a precisely measured and cut bridge. Then I flip the T-bevel to the other side to check how that angle compares. Cameo appearances by the musicians on staff at Fein Violins. It helps to put a little graphite on the end. If a little room has been left in the length, it’s still possible to make any minor corrections. The proportions I use are a standard that I try to work to but on occasion I will make compromises based on the instrument. -Fingerboard holder -Steel wool: extra fine. Then I will cut the fingerboard close to the final length and finish the other end. 9. block plane will do. As I am planing, I am checking my marks underneath and measuring as well with my calipers. –8 inch flat file: 00 cut as an alternative to the sander The end goal is to have a gluing surface that is flat lengthwise and slightly concave crosswise as shown in the picture. Now the fingerboard is ready to be glued to the violin! I now mark out the dimensions of the width of the fingerboard at three places–The nut, the neck foot, and the bridge end. I lap the back of the blade on my highest grit. I use a paring chisel for this step. I start by carving a channel around the whole thing. I then go back with a pencil and darken the line. This indicates those two notes are enharmonic, meaning, even though they are named or "spelled" differently, they sound the same pitch.